Stop it Dave. No, really, stop it. Stop!

A final word for a chap called Dave. Plus some reassuring news for the people of a certain ward in t

Dear Marina

wha g’wan? DC here. Check it. You’re just the kind of bird I want in my party. You’re not old. You don’t wear twinsets and pearls but you do remind older colleagues of a young feisty Maggie. Let’s face it you’re wasted on old man Ming’s posse! Come on be a Green Con like me! Cross the floor and sex us up, you gorgeous filly.

Yours with the utmost respec’, Dave.

P.S. Word!

You turn if you want to: on Iraq, on ID cards, raising standards in education and the rest. But this lady is not for turning.

Sorry Dave – Trident hugger - I’d rather have my nipples crushed in a mangle.

Given your media friendly claims of a U-turn on traditional nasty Tory values, and your apparent repentance at constantly propping up the Labour vote, how about coming over to us. We’re waiting for you here

But please, don’t bring your councillors with you. It’s just too ghastly to contemplate.

Dear Marina

I had a phone call the other day from a lady asking me to vote Tory. Obviously I told her I was voting for you. I mean, how many men my age get to vote for a rising political star with lovely eyes and great baps to boot?

She advised me you were being parachuted into a safe seat. Newhaven she said, owing to local support for your anti-incinerator campaign.

Notwithstanding my concern at you taking up sky diving, I’m gutted you could even contemplate abandoning your community.

We love you Marina

George, East Saltdean near Brighton.
PS: Thank you for sorting my recycling!

George. Thank you for your getting in touch. Rest assured sir, with my record of action and promise of more I WILL stand for re-election in my community of East Saltdean and Telscombe on May 3rd.

This scurrilous rumour appears to be a dirty trick aimed at destroying my hard earned personal vote – and the well deserved local LibDem vote. We’re a strong team.

George, we’re fighting for our political lives against a bunch of no mark Cons. Every vote counts on 3rd May. All offers of help and pledges for the fighting fund to Vote Pepper

The revolution is on George
M
Xxx
PS: Need a postal vote or a lift to the polling station?

Dear Marina

Firstly my apologies. You were right. Grabbing your bottom like that was no way to behave since you were meeting me in your capacity as Mayor. Thank you for dealing with my local issue with such manners and grace. I deserved a face slap.

To the point. The Tories have just been round trying to press gang me to stand in the locals.

I told them, Marina, I said there’s no way I’d stand against you. I mean who wants to work that hard? And for what? Just to get hassled by old ladies smelling of wee, moaning about the state of the pavements whenever I pop out to the local shop for 20 Marlborough and a packet of king sized Rizlas. Why don’t they just drive like normal people?

Anyway. They said you weren’t standing here. I’m appalled. It’s not because I grabbed your bum is it?

Name and address supplied

Thank you for getting in touch. I WILL stand for re-election on 3rd May in East Saltdean and Telscombe. To request a postal vote, donate money, or pledge support here

I neither smoke Marlborough nor experience similar encounters when using my local shops for all my supplies (bar the vegetables - my home is the local organic veg box drop off for East Saltdean and Telscombe).

I do however accept that the pavements in our ward are an atrocious mess. I know this because all sorts of people have told me. And I listen. I’ve twisted my ankle, too, while out delivering Focus leaflets.

But crazy pavements, like pot-holed roads and the Newhaven incinerator are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council. Controlled by the Tories, of course.

If you want my advice about standing dwell on this: it’s a two horse race on May 3rd. Only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Tories. You might win by one vote. Don’t risk it.

Marina Pepper is a former glamour model turned journalist, author, eco-campaigner and Lib Dem politician. A councillor and former Parliamentary candidate, she lives near Brighton with her two children.
Why not e-mail your problems to askmarina@newstatesman.co.uk?
Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Scotland's vast deficit remains an obstacle to independence

Though the country's financial position has improved, independence would still risk severe austerity. 

For the SNP, the annual Scottish public spending figures bring good and bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that Scotland's deficit fell by £1.3bn in 2016/17. The bad news is that it remains £13.3bn or 8.3 per cent of GDP – three times the UK figure of 2.4 per cent (£46.2bn) and vastly higher than the white paper's worst case scenario of £5.5bn. 

These figures, it's important to note, include Scotland's geographic share of North Sea oil and gas revenue. The "oil bonus" that the SNP once boasted of has withered since the collapse in commodity prices. Though revenue rose from £56m the previous year to £208m, this remains a fraction of the £8bn recorded in 2011/12. Total public sector revenue was £312 per person below the UK average, while expenditure was £1,437 higher. Though the SNP is playing down the figures as "a snapshot", the white paper unambiguously stated: "GERS [Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland] is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances". 

As before, Nicola Sturgeon has warned of the threat posed by Brexit to the Scottish economy. But the country's black hole means the risks of independence remain immense. As a new state, Scotland would be forced to pay a premium on its debt, resulting in an even greater fiscal gap. Were it to use the pound without permission, with no independent central bank and no lender of last resort, borrowing costs would rise still further. To offset a Greek-style crisis, Scotland would be forced to impose dramatic austerity. 

Sturgeon is undoubtedly right to warn of the risks of Brexit (particularly of the "hard" variety). But for a large number of Scots, this is merely cause to avoid the added turmoil of independence. Though eventual EU membership would benefit Scotland, its UK trade is worth four times as much as that with Europe. 

Of course, for a true nationalist, economics is irrelevant. Independence is a good in itself and sovereignty always trumps prosperity (a point on which Scottish nationalists align with English Brexiteers). But if Scotland is to ever depart the UK, the SNP will need to win over pragmatists, too. In that quest, Scotland's deficit remains a vast obstacle. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.